Unleashing Digital Learning

Unleashing Digital Learning

OneCommunity
on Nov 01, 2013

Unleashing Digital Learning: An Exploration of Digital Learning, Gigabit Broadband and Federal Policy Development has been developed for high school students that are participating in civics, government, economics or technology course work. This online conversation is designed for high school students to share their insights and opinions about the ConnectED initiative and their views on whether there should be investment in high speed Internet, educational technology and teacher training to realize digital learning outcomes.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/com.theciviccommons.misc/images/One+Community/Reports/Unleashing_Digital_Learning_Oct-Nov2013.pdf


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What do you think?

Anonymous
on 2014-04-25T04:23:28+00:00
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Tom Miller
on Nov 14, 2013
"There is a challenge in offering a robust infrastructure for BYOD.  At the core of the challenge..."
Tom Miller
on Nov 14, 2013
"As always with education, we have some initiatives with similar names.  The ConnectED initiative..."
Laura McShane
on Nov 13, 2013
"Tom - I can pretty much confirm that very few local educators knew/or know about the ConnectED..."
Andrew Samtoy
on Nov 11, 2013
"Could you outline a few of the pros and cons you mentioned?"
Robin Byers
on Nov 11, 2013
"My son's school just gave all 7th graders iPads for their new program.  There have been some pros..."
Nancy Reeves
on Nov 07, 2013
"Equity issues always rear their head when computers are required outside of the classroom - and..."
Nancy Reeves
on Nov 07, 2013
"The only reason they might know about it is if their teachers/schools are using it.  It isn't..."
Tom Miller
on Nov 07, 2013
"I think some students are aware of the flipped classroom concept.  I don't think many are aware..."
Andrew Samtoy
on Nov 07, 2013
"Do students even know about it, though?  "
Tom Miller
on Nov 06, 2013
"I haven't heard much from current students about the flipped/inverted classrooms.  I did have..."
Nancy Reeves
on Nov 06, 2013
"One of the most effective ways I have seen the internet used is to invert the classroom.  Instead..."
Tom Miller
on Nov 06, 2013
"Edweek article, White House Adviser: Tech Connectivity a "Tipping Point" in Ed. Equity highlights..."
Andrew Samtoy
on Nov 05, 2013
"I was initially skeptical about technology in the classroom, but after reading the Wired article,..."
Andrew Samtoy
on Nov 05, 2013
"I just read this exceptionally interesting article on how schools around the world are..."
Laura McShane
on Nov 05, 2013
"Take a look at the application submitted to ODE by Warrensville HS - I think it is the best out..."
Laura McShane
on Nov 05, 2013
"CPL's wifi network is very strong - even after hours - folks in my neighborhood can be seen using..."
Tom Miller
on Nov 05, 2013
"Laura, are you seeing students utilizing their own devices in the libraries or are they using the..."
Tom Miller
on Nov 05, 2013
"I agree that investment in robust, high-speed fiber optic networks is essential to enable digital..."
Laura McShane
on Nov 04, 2013
"I do think the solution is to provide high speed WiFi at schools with a BYOD mentality - rather..."
Laura McShane
on Nov 04, 2013
"Here is the link to the Overdrive textbook initiative:..."
Laura McShane
on Nov 04, 2013
"It will be interesting to see how the competition for funding through the ODE's Straight A fund..."
Keith Krueger
on Nov 02, 2013
"We woudl be pennywise and pound foolish if we didn't invest in education networks that have..."
OneCommunity
on Nov 01, 2013
"On June 6, 2013 President Obama announced a new initiative called ConnectED which would connect..."
OneCommunity
on Nov 01, 2013
"In general, providing high-speed internet access to schools is going to be challenging (and..."

OneCommunity

OneCommunity - 2014-04-25T04:23:29+00:00 - "Unleashing Digital Learning: An Exploration of Digital Learning, Gigabit Broadband and Federal..."

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Andrew Samtoy
on Nov 05, 2013 - 6:18 pm

I just read this exceptionally interesting article on how schools around the world are experimenting with technology in the classroom.  Essentially, they are letting technology take over the classroom, and teachers are acting as guides; students drive their own learning.  One girl in Mexico, who grew up behind a trash dump and lost her father to lung cancer, ended up getting the highest math score in the country because her teacher basically let them teach themselves, using a computer and the internet.  It's well worth a read.  (Hat tip to Aaron Calafato for the link.)  

 

Responses(9)

Andrew Samtoy
on Nov 05, 2013

I was initially skeptical about technology in the classroom, but after reading the Wired article, it seems that perhaps rather than using it as an AID for teachers, teachers, and computers, should be used as aids to students teaching themselves.  Thoughts?

 
Nancy Reeves
on Nov 06, 2013

One of the most effective ways I have seen the internet used is to invert the classroom.  Instead of lecturing and assigning practice homework, the (advance) homework is for students to learn a specific lesson on their own using tools like the Kahn Academy (or perhaps some of the many MOOCs available), then come into the classroom and use the classroom time - and the newly freed-up time of the teacher - to allow for individual interaction at whatever pace each student needs.

Until we move away from No Child Left Behind, and other strictly regimented ways of measuring success, however, I'm afraid that purely child driven learning comes at too great a risk for loss of funding.

 
Tom Miller
on Nov 06, 2013

I haven't heard much from current students about the flipped/inverted classrooms.  I did have some equity and connectivity challenges with my students when I taught high school  Many didn't have Internet access at home.  The majority of times it was related to socio-economic status, sometimes it was related to limited services in rural areas. 

It's interesting that President Obama's ConnectED initiative calls for 99% of students to be connected.  He doesn't technically say "schools".  Wonder if that means freeing up erate funding to relieve some of the digital divide issues in student's homes.

 
Andrew Samtoy
on Nov 07, 2013

Do students even know about it, though?  

 
Tom Miller
on Nov 07, 2013

I think some students are aware of the flipped classroom concept.  I don't think many are aware of the ConnectED initiative or E-Rate.  The intent for "Unleashing Digital Learning" was to generate some student dialog, getting students to participate is challenging. 

 
Nancy Reeves
on Nov 07, 2013

The only reason they might know about it is if their teachers/schools are using it.  It isn't something they can do on their own.

 
Nancy Reeves
on Nov 07, 2013

Equity issues always rear their head when computers are required outside of the classroom - and it is one of my concerns (both generally, and with respect to this particular concept).  People are generally aware of economically restricted access, but far fewer people are aware that even money can't buy access (on a home computer - as opposed to something with a data plan) which is faster than a phone line connection.

 
Laura McShane
on Nov 13, 2013

Tom - I can pretty much confirm that very few local educators knew/or know about the ConnectED initiative - you can see a map of the participants by creating an account here-closest participants I found were in Berea and Brecksville :http://connectededucators.org/

I have an account and I am checking it periodically for new participants - through ConnectED - I was made aware (of yet another) teacher sharing site (I also participate at Thinkfinity) called https://taught.it/about

One of the participants at taught.it helped me resolve a Smartboard problem I encountered (and never would have figured out for myself).  So, the real advantage I see w/connectivity is teachers helping teachers - I explained in a phone call to PD reporter Patrick O'Donnell -CMSD teachers get a mixed message -for years they have been discouraged from participating on line or from using social media.  Most don't even want to check their email.  It's overwhelming for these teachers.

 
Tom Miller
on Nov 14, 2013
As always with education, we have some initiatives with similar names.  The ConnectED initiative http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&ved=0CDEQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.whitehouse.gov%2Fthe-press-office%2F2013%2F06%2F06%2Fpresident-obama-unveils-connected-initiative-bring-america-s-students-di&ei=LU2FUoPmIJPIsATr2YLgDg&usg=AFQjCNEN0ck-m0pP8-KvpIMkAF8YeQKejA&bvm=bv.56343320,d.cWc), is focused on connecting 99% of students to high-speed broadband networks in the next five years and providing teacher training in technology integration.  The ConnectED proposal coinsides with the E-Rate NRPM which is asking for public feedback on E-Rate reform.  Our goal with this conversation was to create a forum for students to discuss the equity issues associated with the e-rate legislation.   The other ConnectEd is resource for teacher online collaboration developed by the US Dept. of Education.  Both have great outcomes and intentions.  Appreciate your participation in this dialog.  
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OneCommunity
on Nov 01, 2013 - 9:27 am

On June 6, 2013 President Obama announced a new initiative called ConnectED which would connect 99 percent of America’s students to the internet through high-speed broadband and wireless networks within the next 5 years.  His proposal would require changes to the national Schools and Libraries Universal Services Fund (E-Rate) program to increase student's access to high-speed Internet connectivity.  It would also support educational technology in classrooms and provide teachers with training on how to use technology for digital learning.  

One method that might be used to fund the ConnectED initiative would be to raise the Universal Service Fees that consumers are charged as part of their telephone and cell phone bills.

 

Would you be willing to pay 30 cents more a month on your cell phone bill to support the ConnectED initiative?  What if the fees were an additional $3.00 per month?   

 

An increase in the Universal Service Fees would have a direct impact on every consumer (including students) who owns a cell phone.  Is this a fair and equitable way to ensure that every student has access to high speed internet? 

 

 

Responses(11)

Keith Krueger
on Nov 02, 2013

We woudl be pennywise and pound foolish if we didn't invest in education networks that have robust broadband and wireless connectivity.  Check out CoSN's new E-rate survey which documents the compelling need for more E-rate funding and the overwhelming lack of broadband connectivity in clssrooms.  Key findings include:

With more than 460 responses from 44 states, 43 percent of districts said none of their schools meet the broadband goal of 100Mbps of Internet access per 1,000 students today. The 100Mbps goal has been advocated by the State Education Technology Directors Association (SETDA) and the LEAD Commission Blueprint, as well as reinforced by President Obama’s ConnectED initiative.

The survey, which was conducted from August to September, seeks to inform critical choices the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) should make in the coming months regarding the E-rate program.

Nearly one-third of those surveyed said they did not apply for some of the E-rate program’s funding due to anticipated shortfalls in funding. Bandwidth was identified as the most important priority for the E-rate program, followed by wireless in schools, as well as school Local Area Network (LAN) connectivity and district Wide Area Network (WAN) connectivity.

The results also revealed that average school network cannot support broadband due to poor and outdated internal connections / wiring, backbone in the school LAN and lack of sufficient wireless access points:

  • 57 percent of districts do not believe their school’s wireless networks have the capacity to currently handle a 1:1 deployment.
  • Half of the wiring in school buildings is older, slower wiring (Cat5 and Cat3) that will not carry data at broadband speeds.
  • 26 percent of districts are using slower copper or 2.3 percent wireless backbones in their school LAN.

Other key survey findings include:

  • Only 57 percent of elementary schools and 64 percent of secondary schools have all classrooms fully equipped with wireless Internet connectivity.
  • 45 percent of districts participate in consortium buying, including 37 percent for Internet bandwidth, and overall nearly 44 percent of districts participate in more than one purchasing cooperative.
  • Rural schools pay six times more for connections than other schools / school systems. Likewise, very large school districts (+50K students) spend over three times more for WAN than other schools / school systems.
  • Schools need both financial support for ongoing monthly costs AND cost of capital or upfront / nonrecurring expenses covered by E-rate if we are to achieve broadband in schools. According to the survey, ongoing monthly costs (79 percent agreement) and cost of capital or upfront / nonrecurring expenses (59 percent agreement) are the two biggest barriers for schools.

On September 16, 2013, CoSN released the preliminary key findings from this survey. Below are their final results with 469 districts responding (vs. previously 447). There was no substantial change from the preliminary key findings:

  • 99 percent of districts need additional Internet bandwidth and connectivity in the next 36 months.
  • 93 percent percent of districts believe current E-rate funding does not fully meet their district’s needs.
  • 20 percent of districts identified geography as a barrier to increasing connectivity in their schools, and 10.5 percent indicated their Internet providers were either at capacity or could not expand capacity.

To read the full report, please visit: www.cosn.org/eratesurvey.

 

 

 
Tom Miller
on Nov 05, 2013

I agree that investment in robust, high-speed fiber optic networks is essential to enable digital learning in our schools, but some would argue that instructional practices have to change in order to leverage the investment.  More bandwidth and ubiquitous wireless doesn't necessary equal better instruction. 

As an example,  Project Tomorrow's 2013 report “From Chalkboards to Tablets: The Emergence of the K-12 Digital Learner” indicated that 73% of high school seniors have laptops, but only 18% reported that they could use their laptop at school. 

What would you say to our current high school students to assure them that the proposed changes in ERate will have an impact in the way in which they use technology in school?     
Laura McShane
on Nov 04, 2013

It will be interesting to see how the competition for funding through the ODE's Straight A fund will pan out. http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Straight-A-Fund

 CMSD has applied for a number of grants to improve their bandwidth - but I am concerned that there is not a clear plan for making technology work within the classroom.  The district purchased interactive whiteboards and other devices without having a support staff to keep these expensive devices operable and without having the Internet speed to support the devices.  I also think there needs to be consideration of how students access grade level appropriate materials - there is almost no discussion of e-book textbooks though I know local provider Overdrive is working on this market. 

 
Laura McShane
on Nov 04, 2013

Here is the link to the Overdrive textbook initiative:http://www.overdrive.com/education/k-12-schools/

Also, Verizon Foundation is participating with ConnectEd and making effort to help determine best use of mobile technology in education :

http://www.thinkfinity.org/thread/16493

Libraries are also struggling to determine the full extent and cost of providing digital content:http://libraryrenewal.org/ ;

 
Laura McShane
on Nov 04, 2013

I do think the solution is to provide high speed WiFi at schools with a BYOD mentality - rather than schools also providing the devices.   Meanwhile, our public libraries are great environments for training folks to use personal devices.  

 
Tom Miller
on Nov 05, 2013

Laura, are you seeing students utilizing their own devices in the libraries or are they using the libraries computers?   How robust is your libraries wireless network?  Can it handle the afterschool crunch?  

 
Laura McShane
on Nov 05, 2013

CPL's wifi network is very strong - even after hours - folks in my neighborhood can be seen using their phones and laptops by accessing the service outside the building.  Re: students - Benedictine HS students are issued devices and regularly are here to complete their homework.  Despite being labeled as an "urban" and therefore "underprivileged" community - most households have a smart phone or other wifi enable device - and YES - these kids are wired and tech savvy.  We have a hard time keeping up with them!

 
Laura McShane
on Nov 05, 2013

Take a look at the application submitted to ODE by Warrensville HS - I think it is the best out of Cuyahoga County applicants - but I could be wrong - http://education.ohio.gov/getattachment/Topics/Straight-A-Fund/Straight-A-Fund-Applications.xlsx.aspx

There is definitely difficult decisions to made when it comes to investing in technology and constant upgrade-as the equipment needs maintenance by a trained and agile staff - and training of educators who are overwhelmed by so many other admin-driven directives.  

 
Robin Byers
on Nov 11, 2013

My son's school just gave all 7th graders iPads for their new program.  There have been some pros and cons - but at Parent Teacher conferences, one of the larger struggles is bringing all of the teachers up to speed on technology.  

While I like the concept of BYOD, different devices can render differently and need additional knowledge from the teacher if they are to still serve as a guide to learning.  

 
Andrew Samtoy
on Nov 11, 2013

Could you outline a few of the pros and cons you mentioned?

 
Tom Miller
on Nov 14, 2013

There is a challenge in offering a robust infrastructure for BYOD.  At the core of the challenge is the access to high-speed broadband and the means in which schools can pay for their network infrastructure.  E-Rate funding supplements schools network infrastructure, but there are more funding requests than there are funds.  The revision of the E-Rate program struggles to find the equitable balance between have and have-not schools, rural, urban and suburban schools and the value of the overall investment.  The Alliance for Excellent Education has a pretty good overview of the challenges and a call to action in their 99in5 campaign.  http://99in5.org/ 

 
Expand This Thread
OneCommunity
on Nov 01, 2013 - 9:25 am

In general, providing high-speed internet access to schools is going to be challenging (and costly).  In densely populated urban and suburban areas there are a large numbers of schools that will need to be connected to fiber optic networks.  In rural areas there will be challenges in connecting schools due to great distances between schools.   

Is providing all schools access to high speed internet to enable digital learning worth the public investment?   

 

Do the benefits of digital learning out-weigh the costs of providing high-speed internet to all schools?

 

 

Responses(1)

Tom Miller
on Nov 06, 2013

Edweek article, White House Adviser: Tech Connectivity a "Tipping Point" in Ed. Equity highlights need for schools to have equitable access to high-speed broadband.

http://ht.ly/qwLgd

 

 

 
Expand This Thread